The Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in his eighth cabinet expansion, has openly played the Brahmin card by inducting two expelled Brahmin ministers. Akhilesh inducted Manoj Pandey and Shivkant Ojha into the ministry and elevated another Brahmin minister Abhishek Mishra, to the cabinet rank. In this expansion, four new ministers were inducted and six were promoted to the cabinet rank.
Though the expansion was on expected lines, the reinduction of the expelled minister Gayatri Prajapati indicated that CM had succumbed to pressure. It may be recalled that during the recent rift in Yadav family, the chief minister had expelled Prajapati from the ministry because of his tainted image. Prajapati was charged of amassing huge wealth beyond his sources of known income and also faces the land grabbing charges. Prajapati is said to be close to Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav, who is senior minister in the cabinet was at loggerheads with Akhilesh.
The SP chief Mulayam and Shivpal were also present at the ceremony, which took place at Rajbhavan in Lucknow on Monday. After expansion Mulayam said, "He has not made Prajapati the minister, but recommended to the chief minister Prajapati's case and it is good that chief minister listened to my advice."
This time, realising the importance of Brahmin votes in the coming assembly polls, the SP, too, has played the Brahmin card like its other political rivals the Congress and the BSP.
From announcing Parashuram Jayanti as a holiday, withdrawing false cases against Brahmins under the SC/ST Act to holding Brahmins' conclaves for the first time, the SP had taken several steps to woo Brahmins. Declaring Parashuram Jayanti as a holiday is a clear attempt to placate the Brahmin vote bank as Parashuram is a revered figure in the community.